The great thing about accents is that they are as permanent or as temporary as you want them to be. Mirrors, cushions, window treatments and rugs can be swapped in and out of rooms as trends, seasons and your personal tastes change. Whatever your furnishing style, accents are a quick way to breathe fresh life into the room.
So what is an accent?
An accent can be as small as a bunch of flowers, or as large as new curtains, so let yourself be creative. Light fixtures, side tables and throws are all accents; so are sculptures, poufs, and (obviously) accent chairs. A good rule of thumb is to tie your accents together by color, to produce a unified impression.
Use the color wheel
Let the classic color wheel help you choose a complementary or analogous color scheme. Complementary colors are those that sit across from each other on the wheel; like blue and orange, or red and green. Being opposites, when paired in a complementary color scheme these colors produce a challenging effect that especially suits formal rooms. Analogous colors are those next to each other on the wheel; like yellow and orange, or violet and blue. Analogous colors are more similar, and their effect when paired is more relaxing, making analogous color schemes a good pick for casual rooms.
A room plan can be a huge help when re-arranging or accessorizing a space you’re already using. Viewing the room from above depersonalizes it and allows you to conceptualize it differently. Use any free online or in-store room planner to create a layout that shows how you’re currently using the space, then start virtually rearranging your space and adding new elements. You may be surprised by how many options you find you have!
Stuck? White, black or metallic accents go with anything
The 60-30-10 rule
An easy way to pull the whole room together is to design around three colors; a dominant color, a secondary color and an accent color. 60% of the room should feature the dominant color, 30% the secondary color and 10% the accent color. It’s the 60-30-10 rule, and for most rooms it translates as follows:
Got a bold color that you love, but don’t want the risk of painting the walls with it, or the investment of buying furniture in it? You may have found your accent color! Typically, your wall color and furnishings will be fairly neutral, so use those accents as an opportunity to play.
60% – wall color (dominant)
30% – furniture color (secondary)
10% – 2-3 room accessories (accent)
An interior designer can advise on accent placement, help you choose a color scheme, and even shop for accessories on your behalf. If those finishing touches are refusing to come together, don’t be shy about reaching out for help!